SILVER SPRINGS SHORES — On a current day, sitting on a sofa in her front room, Judy Miller patiently turned the pages of a big picture album. It accommodates photos from her wedding ceremony, in addition to photographs of her household and buddies taken by the years.
Miller smiled, chuckled and at instances described the particular events depicted within the pictures. One image confirmed her late husband, Ricky, along with his hand on high of a miniature snowman.
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On Aug. 15, Judy Miller was sitting on that identical sofa when her husband walked out the entrance door of their dwelling to face Marion County Sheriff’s Workplace deputies.
“He needed me and the canine to exit with him and die collectively,” she mentioned.
Judy Miller and the canine remained inside. Armed with a handgun, Ricky Miller went exterior. His spouse mentioned he fired thrice on the deputies, though an official account of the capturing would not point out Miller firing his weapon.
Nonetheless, there isn’t any doubt he aimed the gun on the deputies, who then fired at him. When the gunfire ended, Ricky Lee Miller was useless.
“He had it in his thoughts that night time that he was going to die,” Judy Miller mentioned.
Prosecutor: Deputies’ capturing was legally justified
In line with Chief Assistant State Legal professional Walter Forgie’s report on the capturing, deputies had obtained a number of telephone calls a couple of suspicious individual and photographs fired within the space of Larch Course Observe about 6:15 p.m. on Aug. 15.
Ricky Lee Miller himself had known as to report that photographs have been fired and “an officer was down,” Forgie wrote.
A little more than two hours after the phone calls, deputies had a perimeter set up around Miller’s home. Holding a gun in his driveway, Miller walked toward deputies, Forgie said.
He raised his right arm and pointed the gun at them. Deputies ordered Miller to drop the weapon. He did not heed the commands and continued walking at them. Deputies Jarrick Donely, Alan Edwards and Michael Lowder opened fire.
“I don’t blame them. He said if he died, it should be by the law,” Judy Miller said.
In 2019, the Washington Post reported that about 10 p.c of the deadly police shootings annually are so-called “suicide by cop.” There was no formal declaration that Miller’s was such a case.
Shot within the head and chest, Ricky Lee Miller died 15 days earlier than his 52nd birthday.
“He was a superb man and a tough employee, however the alcohol took over,” Judy Miller mentioned.
Forgie concluded that the deputies’ use of pressure was legally justified.
Ricky Lee Miller had a troubled previous
The couple married in 1999 at Ricky Miller’s grandparents’ dwelling in Cocoa. “He thought it (the situation) was particular,” Judy Miller mentioned.
Miller mentioned her husband’s mom and grandparents took flip elevating him.
“He was born in Orlando and raised in Cocoa,” she mentioned.
A number of years after their marriage, the Millers moved to Belleview after which to Silver Springs Shores in 2003.
Miller mentioned her husband labored on roofs in The Villages from 1997 till 2012. In late 2012, Ricky Lee Miller picked up his third DUI cost. She mentioned the state fought to get his driver’s license, and it apparently took his power.
“He did not have the desire to hold on,” she mentioned.
There have been different troubles. Judy Miller was identified with most cancers. And although she was profitable in beating the illness, she later misplaced most of her eyesight. Miller makes use of a magnifying glass to learn or see.
“I am positive he wasn’t anticipating that,” she mentioned.
Then there was Ricky Lee Miller’s longtime battle with alcohol.
“He favored to drink,” his widow mentioned.
Ricky Lee Miller’s arrest file
Native data present Miller was arrested in April 2013 on a cost of driving whereas license suspected or revoked for DUI. The state declined to prosecute, noting that Miller was already on probation by Marion County’s DUI Court docket program and had been assessed further neighborhood service hours.
4 years after that, he was charged with battery and obstructing justice. In line with the arrest report, Judy Miller mentioned her husband had been bodily abusive, was armed with a gun, and threatened suicide if she known as legislation enforcement.
These expenses finally have been dropped, based on a courtroom file, as a result of Judy Miller now not sought prosecution and since she had made inconsistent statements to legislation enforcement.
Two prior incidents on the Miller dwelling in 2020
In February 2020, Miller was arrested on a number of expenses, together with use of firearm whereas drunk and assault. Deputies got here to his home in response to a noise grievance; they later reported that Miller had a loaded gun in his possession, acted like he needed to shoot legislation officers, and needed to be restrained with a stun gun.
Miller’s spouse advised deputies her husband had been ingesting beer and moonshine that night time, an arrest affidavit mentioned.
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In April – whereas the February case was nonetheless pending and Miller was out of jail on bond – deputies once more responded to the Miller dwelling after a noise grievance. Miller was arrested once more, this time on expenses of DUI, resisting an officer with out violence and refusing to submit to a breath take a look at.
The state, citing inadequate proof to show guilt within the February case, declined to file weapons or aggravated assault expenses. However Miller was convicted of resisting an officer with out violence. In July, he was sentenced to time already served within the Marion County Jail.
Because the April case was nonetheless pending, Miller remained behind bars. However he obtained out on Aug. 6 when a choose, in response to Miller’s lawyer’s request, launched him on his personal recognizance. The choose mentioned Miller couldn’t possess or eat alcohol, and will solely function a motorized vehicle if he has a legitimate license.
9 days later, deputies have been known as to a disturbance on the Miller dwelling.
The deadly encounter
On that day, Judy Miller mentioned, her husband had been ingesting. She mentioned he dialed 911, gave the telephone to her, then took the telephone from her and hung it up.
She attributes her husband’s issues to alcohol, head accidents and the time he spent within the county jail.
An post-mortem confirmed his blood-alcohol content material that day was 0.161. The extent at which somebody is presumed impaired is 0.08.
Hoping to heal
In between his arrests, Judy Miller mentioned, her husband had two automobile crashes the place he injured his head. In one of many crashes, she mentioned, he spent a month within the hospital.
Following the dying, Judy Miller mentioned, she’s had dangerous goals and hung out in a hospital.
Though her incapacity has hampered her motion, she mentioned buddies have helped her and he or she has realized to outlive.
“I take into consideration him quite a bit, ” she mentioned. “He handled me like a queen.”
Often, she has had yard gross sales the place she sells a few of her husband’s stuff. She mentioned a number of the gadgets bought additionally belongs to her
“I miss him,” she mentioned.
Star-Banner reporter Jim Ross contributed to this report. Contact Austin L. Miller at 867-4118, email@example.com or @almillerosb.